Hunting the Hunters: Tim Seeley on Hack/Slash

Tim Seeley on Hack/Slash

Hack/Slash #24, cover A

For five years now, Cassie Hack and a gas mask wearing hulk of a man called Vlad have been hunting. What their hunting is human in most cases – supernatural in others, but what they’re hunting is the hunters.

Think of them as serial-killer-killers.

Hack/Slash is going on twenty-issues with more on the way, and Devil’s Due Publishing recently released a one-shot entitled Hack/Slash: Entry Wound designed as an “entry point” issue for new readers. It’s become the flagship title for the Chicago-based DDP, scratching the itch for horror while empowering the victims to fight back. Debuting in comics in 2004, its’ evocative blend of horror, humor and humanity has spawned a stage play an upcoming movie and even pushed the lead character Cassie to be a Suicide Girl.

Hack/Slash is created and written by cartoonist Tim Seeley, who also illustrated the recent Entry Wound one-shot and has also penciled Marvel’s Exiles and Wolverine: First Class.

With the title nearing it’s landmark 25th issue, we talked with Seeley for more.

Hack/Slash #23, cover A

Newsarama: Hack/Slash has become the flagship title for Devil’s Due, and rightly so. Beginning as one-shots, it’s now expanded to an ongoing series with a movie in the works as well. What do you think of the series’ success?

Tim Seeley: I think we're lucky in that we're really the only slasher book in the comic industry that comes out on a consistent basis I think it helps that a lot of our readers are very loyal to Cassie and Vlad too. Mostly I think people just read the book because they heard their was gonna be a movie someday. [laughs]

NRAMA: At first glance, Hack/Slashwas seen as a light-hearted homage to horror movies but you’ve clearly broke that stereotype with the issues out now. How would you describe the series as a whole and where it’s gone?

TS: I think it's still a light hearted homage to horror movies on the surface, but I guess underneath it all it's really a character study with some elements of a road/buddy story and an occasional superhero style structure. I used to say I try to make it a book that allows me to do any crazy idea I can come up with. I think now, the book has it's own parameters and even it's own rules, but I can still pare down most anything I come up with and make it work in a Hack/Slash story.

Hack/Slash #25, cover B

NRAMA: In recent issues, Cassie’s been longing for a different life than the one she has of hunting down serial killers. Can you tell us how her life has been so far and why she wants a normal one so bad?

TS: Cassie, is above all, a teenage girl. So, no matter how bizarre and messed up her situation can get, she still sometimes feels like she should be doing what teenage girls do. I think that conflict will always be very central to the book. Slasher films always seem to punish teens for being teens, and Cassie is a girl who punishes HERSELF for being a teen.

NRAMA: The character of Cassie has really developed over the years. Was this the plan all along, or just a product of you writing her so often?

TS: I definitely had big ideas for her early on, but I wasn’t sure how to execute it, or even if people would go along with it. But I'm really happy that I get the chance to do the book every month and really get into her head with the support of the readers.

NRAMA: How would you describe Cassie and Vlad’s relationship?

Hack/Slash #24, cover B

TS: Their relationship actually kind of fluctuates...a lot like anyone's relationships I suppose. Most of the time they have a very platonic, supportive friendship. They can hang out, get some lunch and stab serial killers together quite well. But there's some stress there...Cassie knows she's Vlad's main link to the world, and that sometimes he needs her more than she's comfortable with. And Vlad knows that Cassie isn't always that far from going completely over the edge, putting him in the uncomfortable situation of having to restrain her. We've also seen Vlad get jealous of Cassie's affection for someone else...so, I guess it's kind of a complex relationship.

NRAMA: In recent issues you’re introduced two new major players, Samhain and the Black Lamp Society. Can you tell us about them?

Hack/Slash #23, cover B

TS: The BLS and Samhain tie into the origin of the slashers in the Hack/Slash world. Samhain, seemed to initially appear as an ally, but as we’ll see in issue 23, that might not always be the case. The BLS is sort of a Slasher worshipping cult, and they're not super pleased that Cassie has been killing off all their messiahs.

NRAMA: Before we let you go Tim, you’re close to the 25th issue – before you go, can you tell us what’s planned to ring it the big 2-5?

TS: We're doing a double sized 25th issue. And, nerd that I am, I did some homage coves, along with original series artist Stefano Caselli, who's now a big hottie pants artist over at Marvel. #24 and #25 fill in all kinds of back story and set the book up for a bunch more stories.

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